I wrote about Tillerson today for Politico in the wake of the “moron” controversy:
If Secretary of State Rex Tillerson resigned, how would anyone know?
Even before his unusual apology speech Wednesday morning, he had become the nation’s least influential top diplomat in recent memory. His relationship with the president of the United States is strained at best, he has no philosophy or signature initiative, he has barely staffed his own department, and he’s alienated the foreign service. The former CEO of ExxonMobil has taken one of the power positions in the U.S. government and made it an afterthought.
Who knows the truth of the NBC story that he was close to quitting last summer over clashes with President Donald Trump? But Tillerson’s press availability on Wednesdayswearing his loyalty to the president is not the sort of thing loyalists usually have to do.
The secretary of state dodged questions about whether he had, indeed, as NBC reported, called Trump a “moron” — almost certainly the first time in U.S. history a Cabinet official has been asked about personally insulting the president he works for and apparently not been able, in good conscience, to deny it.